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India strengthens its commercial launch capabilities

India: Reaffirming its commercial launch capabilities, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched Indo-French satellite SARAL, aimed at oceanographic studies, along with six foreign mini and micro satellites on Monday. All the seven satellites were launched by ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C20 rocket. This is the second highest number of satellites to be flown on a PSLV. Speaking to Geospatial World Devi Prasad Karnik, ISRO spokesperson said, “Earlier, in April 2008, 10 satellites were put into orbit by the PSLV.”

The ISRO spokesperson further said that this launch has not only strengthened the Indo-French space cooperation but has also boosted ISRO’s capabilities as a commercial launcher. The launch has enabled ISRO to reinforce its position in the commercial space arena. “So far ISRO has launched 35 overseas aircrafts, including six satellites launched on Monday. ISRO will carry out more such commercial launches, however nothing has been finalised yet,” Karnik said.

SARAL, built by ISRO, would study the ocean surface and environment using two French devices ARgos and ALtila, based on the principle of radar. The other satellites riding piggyback are two micro-satellites UniBRITE and BRITE from Austria and AAUSAT3 from Denmark and STRaND from the UK, besides a microsatellite (NEOSSat) and a mini satellite (SAPPHIRE) from Canada.

Source: Our Correspondent